Protecting Your Pets: Tips from Rangeley’s Animal Control Officer
Recently I read I am dexter by part-time Rangeley residents Steve and Dr Dru Pollinger. The Pollingers own and operate the Fair Haven Animal Hospital in Fair Haven, Vermont. In just under 200 pages, they detail their family’s experience rehabilitating Dexter, a previously abused and abandoned dog.
Dexter’s story got me thinking about the dogs I know in the area and how their owners can keep them safe, especially during the busy summer months. I spoke with Lisa Symes, Rangeley’s animal control officer, who shared some wisdom from her twelve years in the role. She mainly takes care of the cats and dogs, as all wild animals are directed to the game warden.
First, Symes offered suggestions for keeping pets safe in the summer. “When people come to visit us, we’re a pretty friendly town when it comes to animals. All exterior [restaurants] allows you to get your dog to sit next to you, so there’s no need to leave your dog in the car. Rangeley don’t get so hot, but crack your [car] windows over two inches. Or leave your dog at home,” she said.
Leaving pets at home is an especially helpful tip for families who only visit for a few days at a time, especially on weekends. Symes reminded me that the nearest vet is two hours away: “He’s an emergency vet in Lewiston. People have to think about that too… if you bring in a sick dog, you won’t get a vet down the street.
In terms of day-to-day safety, Symes stressed the importance of putting name tags on all pets. “Some people are afraid to put labels on them because they get caught. But most dogs have collars. Embroider your phone number! You don’t have to put a name, just embroider your phone number on the collar,” she said. In his experience, the hardest part of dealing with a lost dog is finding its owner.
For families looking to rescue, foster, or adopt a pet, Symes recommends the Franklin County Animal Shelter or Facebook’s online rescues. There are even rescues dedicated to specific breeds, which can help families on both ends of the placement.
If you come across a lost cat or dog in the Rangeley area, contact Symes at 207-670-5146. If you find a lost animal outside of town, leave the animal where it is and call the animal control officer for that area.